Belize has become the latest country to signal its support for Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith in her bid to become the next Commonwealth Secretary-General.
Johnson Smith will face off with incumbent Dominican-born UK barrister, Baroness Patricia Scotland, for the post during the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, which is slated for June 20 to 25 this year.
In explaining his country’s choice of candidate, Prime Minister of Belize, John Brice?o, who was speaking during a programme on Belizean radio on Tuesday night, said Johnson Smith is suited for the job based on her vast experience and her hardworking track record.
“Now we are grateful to Baroness Scotland for her work…, but at the moment when we started to look at both candidates, Belize has decided that we are going to support Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith,” he declared.
“Why? Well, first of all she has a wealth of experience. She has been foreign minister for, this is her second term. She is the leader of government in the Senate. She has chaired different committees worldwide,” he outlined.
Brice?o, who is also Chairman of CARICOM, welcomed Johnson Smith’s advocacy for Commonwealth countries to “work together” in order to achieve development.
Belizean Prime Minister John Briceno
“I believe that she represents what we believe that the Commonwealth Secretariat needs, and that is why Belize will support Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith,” he stated.
But the Belizean leader was reminded that his position was not the overall view of CARICOM, though he chairs the regional grouping.
Due to CARICOM countries failing to come to a consensus on who should get the nod for the position, each member country will vote for its candidate of choice.
Brice?o insisted that his country’s endorsement of Johnson Smith is not intended to represent the overall view of each CARICOM member state.
“As I said, I think a number of countries have already said that they are going to support her. I think Trinidad and Tobago, for instance, already announced that they’re going to support her.
“She’s a very good candidate, she is likable, she is hardworking, and she can get people to work together, and I think that is more than anything else, important,” he contended.
In addition to the two Caribbean countries, Johnson Smith, who first declared her interest in the post on April 21, has so far received the public support of Singapore, Maldives, India and the United Kingdom.